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The international business major is designed to provide students with the sound understanding of international business principles and the languages and cultures of other regions that are essential for success in today's global economy.

Students who major in international business must declare another major in business, as functional business skills such as accounting, marketing and finance are important for initial career placement and emphasized more in the early stages of business careers. International skills are generally utilized after mastering functional skills. Career opportunities include private firms with world-wide interests, government and international agencies and U.S. and foreign colleges and universities.

Students must choose a region of emphasis and select language and area studies courses accordingly. Currently, regional tracks are established for Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Studying abroad through the Wisconsin School of Business International Programs for one fall or spring semester in the selected region is required for the major.

Related Student Organizations

AIESEC
International Business Student Association
International Finance Club

Study Abroad

Studying abroad for one semester through the Wisconsin School of Business International Programs is required for the International Business major. In addition to the required semester abroad, many students may also choose to take advantage of summer programs or short programs embedded in a course to gain additional international experience. Students are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad section to learn more about study abroad opportunities and to meet with their academic advisor to discuss course planning. Students can take a maximum of two courses in their major abroad (no limit to International Business courses). Other common course options abroad include core, breadth, and foreign language courses.

Q: How do I declare a major in international business?

A: Students must be admitted to the Wisconsin School of Business in order to declare a major in international business. Please visit our Admissions page for more information. Students indicate their intended major when they apply to the business school. If they are admitted, the major(s) indicated will be declared for them. Students may change their major by completing a Business Major Declaration Form. Turn completed forms in to the front desk in 3150 Grainger Hall.

Q: How do I cancel the international business major?

A: Admitted business students may cancel their declared international business major by completing a Business Major Declaration Form. Turn completed forms in to the front desk in 3150 Grainger Hall.

Q: What are common parallel plans related to international business?

A: Common parallel plans that lead to careers in international business include international studies (College of Letters & Science), political science (L&S), or a foreign language (L&S). Students are encouraged to contact the Cross College Advising Service (http://www.ccas.wisc.edu/) or the appropriate school/college for advising related to these or other majors.

Q: How do I run a DARS report for the international business major?

A: Please see the following link for information on how to run a DARS report

Q: Is it possible to double major?

A: Admitted business students may select up to a maximum of three business majors. Students also have the option of selecting one additional major in the College of Letters & Science (L&S). To declare an additional major in L&S, students should meet with an advisor for the L&S major and complete the L&S Major Declaration Form. Students should turn in the completed and signed form to 3150 Grainger Hall. Timely degree completion with multiple majors will depend on an individual student’s situation.


Randall Dunham
Professor
Department Chair for Management & Human Resources, Faculty Director of CIBER
rdunham@bus.wisc.edu
Ph.D., MA, BA

The following requirements must be met in order to complete a major in International Business. For detailed course descriptions, please consult the Course Guide.

Please be aware of stated prerequisites for major courses (including business core courses) that need to be completed before taking the course. Specific prerequisites can be found using the Course Guide.

Students must be admitted to the Wisconsin School of Business to complete a major in international business.

International business coursework, 12 credits (minimum of six credits from International Business department) selected from:

Intl Bus 200 International Business, 3 cr
Intl Bus 320 Intercultural Communication in Business, 3 cr
Intl Bus 365 Contemporary Topics, 3 cr
Intl Bus 403 Global Issues in Management, 3 cr
Intl Bus 407 International Accounting, 3 cr
Intl Bus 420 Global Marketing, 3 cr
Intl Bus 430 International Real Estate, 3 cr
Intl Bus 445 Multinational Business Finance, 3 cr
Intl Bus 462 Economic Problems of Latin America, 3 cr
Intl Bus 463 Comparative Analysis in Latin American Development, 3 cr
Intl Bus 615 Doing Business in Emerging Markets, 3 cr
AAE 344 The Environment and the Global Economy, 3 cr
AAE 373 Globalization, Poverty & Development, 3 cr
AAE 374 The Growth and Development of Nations in the Global Economy, 3 cr
Econ 309/409 Study Abroad in Intermediate/Advanced Economics, 1-4 cr
Econ 364 Survey of International Economies OR
Econ 464 International Trade and Finance, 4 cr
Econ 365 Issues in Comparative Economics, 4 cr
Econ 467 International Comparisons—Industrial Firms and Industrial Organizations, 3 cr
Econ 473 Economic Growth and Develop in Southeast Asia, 3 cr
Econ 474 Economic Problems of Developing Areas, 3 cr

Foreign language taught in the region, 22 credits, maximum of two languages. Retroactive credits apply. Students are strongly encouraged to take language courses beyond the minimum requirement in order to maintain proficiency, particularly if planning to take study abroad courses in the language.

Approved languages include:

Asia: Chinese, Hindi, Hmong, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Pali, Filipino, Sanskrit, Telugu, Thai, Tibetan, Turkish, Urdu, Uzbek, Vietnamese

Europe: Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish

Latin America: Spanish, Portuguese

Area studies, nine credits. Students are encouraged to take area studies courses that also fulfill the social science, ethnic studies, and humanities liberal studies requirements.

A list of approved courses is available. Since this list is periodically revised, the most up-to-date information can be found at the links below:

Semester abroad on a Wisconsin School of Business-sponsored program in the region: students are strongly encouraged to take courses abroad in the local language. Click here to view study abroad options.
A limited number of multi-national organizations offer graduates international career opportunities earlier in their career.  In international business, however, most businesses require their employees to work in their United States office(s) for three to five years before assigning significant international responsibility.

Sample of Issues Facing Multi-National Firms

  • Political, economic and foreign currency risks (e.g., war, regime change, global recession or pandemic, severe weather)
  • Differing legal systems and laws (e.g., patents, contract enforcement, unreliable judicial systems, product certification and liability)
  • Transportation and infrastructure barriers (e.g., insurance, time, cost, security)
  • Foreign language and intercultural communication barriers
  • Corporate and personal tax issues and differing accounting standards
  • Trade policy (e.g., tariffs, quotas, subsidies, WTO and multilateral treaty law)
  • Ethics (e.g., sustainability, corruption, fair trade)

International Business Career Essentials

  • There is no one typical path to an international career
  • More and more jobs will be “international,” without being expatriate positions
  • In-country talent pools getting bigger and better
  • Technology is making communication easier and cheaper
  • Expatriate packages are very expensive
  • Trend towards global teams and learning
  • Experience in emergent economies will be most sought by firms (China, India, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, Africa)

Sample International Business Opportunities

  • Operational Manager
  • Supply Chain & Customer Relations Manager
  • Quality Assurance Coordinator
  • Distribution & International Operations Manager
  • Assistant Treasurer
  • Vice President Global Marketing

Essential Skills

  • Cross-cultural fluency
  • Ability to build successful relationships with others
  • Confidence to lead effectively through ambiguous new territory where there is often no “right answer” and ethical issues abound and change is constant “Others-orientation” that is founded on genuine appreciation for differences
  • Sense of humor
  • Creativity
  • Effective collaboration
  • Organizational and planning skills

Because the International Business major requires an additional business major, students are encouraged to meet with the academic and career advisors for their primary major.

Please visit the advising page for information on advising and appointments.